AAA membership renewals jump 17% with Relay solution

The Challenge

A need to simplify the renewal process

AAA is always there for its customers, but when it comes to membership renewals, its customers weren’t always there back. It’s not unusual — the membership renewal message is often the hardest customer interaction — but a lack of engagement was costing AAA customers, and depriving customers of help they could trust.

If you’ve been a member of AAA for 20 years, two things are probably true:

  1. You’re going to keep renewing
  2. AAA has your landline, not your mobile

Then there are the folks who have been members for less than five years — this is the audience AAA W&CNY was having the most difficult time renewing. They also represent the greatest opportunity, given that they’re most likely to have mobile numbers on file. "Traditional reminders like emails or phone calls weren’t successful. We felt that texting was a better way to reach this younger demographic," says Tae Kim, COO of AAA W&CNY.

AAA believed that people weren’t renewing because they didn’t see the renewal notice, or they’d put it off for later. It’s all well and good to get a membership renewal letter in the mail, but if you’re not reading it while sitting in front of the renewal form, you’re extremely likely to set it aside and, ultimately, forget about it altogether.

Relay provided more than just technology. They gave us end-to-end consulting.
Tae Kim, COO of AAA W&CNY

The Solution

Tackling the renewal challenge with AAA’s younger members

Tae Kim, COO of AAA’s Western and Central New York (W&CNY) branch, reached out to Relay help find a way to solve for this group’s low renewal rate. AAA had previously been renewing customers through tons of mailers and phone calls — two expensive and time-consuming methods that don’t give members the ability to renew instantly. With Relay, Tae could create a proactive customer experience. By going mobile-first and giving members the power to take action within the message itself, AAA would be able to engage more customers and drastically improve the renewal rate, particularly for young members who demand mobile experiences.

Together, we created a flow that would save members time and improve their experience. Working closely with AAA, we crafted a personalized renewal experience, called Relay® Renewal Assist, to go out to everyone who was up for renewal and had a mobile number on file. Each eligible member received a text notification with a link to their individual renewal page with their account information pre-filled. All they had to do was enter their zip code and click ‘Renew’ to complete the process.

From helping us set up the program, to making sure our language was compliant, Relay provided insightful guidance on how the whole customer journey should be managed.
Tae Kim, COO of AAA W&CNY

The Results

Making membership renewal mobile, personalized and easy had an immediate and enormous impact for the business. Compared to members who did not receive the mobile outreach, members who got the Relay Renewal Assist experience were 17 percent more likely to renew.

Adding two membership renewal best practices — credit card checks and personalization

After seeing success with that group of members, we set to work finding other ways to improve the membership renewal process. We knew that many AAA users had automatic membership renewal enabled. We also knew that a good chunk of those members had expired credit cards that kept them from the ease of an automatic renewal.


More Likely to Renew Membership


Reduction in Credit Card Declines

That was something Relay Renewal Assist could handle. A month before auto-renewing a member, AAA would do a pre-authorization on that credit card. If the pre-auth failed, we had an opportunity to preempt a failure of the auto renewal. Much like we did with the membership renewal message, we sent a text message letting users know their credit card was outdated. Inside was a secure link that took them to a personalized renewal page where they could update their credit card information, with as many pre-filled details as possible.

Within a month, we saw an average 21 percent reduction in credit card declines, simplifying renewal for those members and keeping those customers for AAA. The personalized renewal experience was a critical reason why the campaign worked. That level of individualization made it easy for members to update their information, sure, but it also made them feel known, like they were more than a bounced credit card.

A lot of AAA clubs want to replicate what we’ve done. Relay has been flexible, helping us make it happen with as little friction as possible. It’s a win/win/win.
Tae Kim, COO of AAA W&CNY

What's Next

The first step on the path towards a digital-first company

The results for AAA W&CNY proved that Relay could improve the membership renewal process and improve member retention — a critical metric for a membership-based business like AAA. Now the trick is figuring out what else we can do and where else we can take it. The sky is truly the limit when it comes to how we can help AAA embrace exciting, innovative solutions to improve the member experience and achieve their KPIs, made even more critical by the mounting threat of upstart companies vying for the wallets of their members.

Relay helps insurance companies more effectively engage customers at the most critical moments in their customer journey. To learn how we could help your business, reach out to us.